You can find the first instalment of this series Here.
ABOVE Some sort of Native Police parade dress slash band situation, complete with spats, sashes and pith helmets. Ah, colonialism. It's a bitch but you can't fault the wardrobe. As a colonial myself I've always been struck by the arrant otherness of British sartorial tradition. There are few sights on earth more surreal and perplexing than a hundred bubblegum-pink/shiny brown men sweating buckets in full military kit on a 38ºC pre-monsoon afternoon.
The spears and totemic devices visible in the background belong to one of the groups in full tribal regalia massed behind them in what must have been a stunning juxtaposition.
LEFT & BELOW Speaking of juxtapositions...
LEFT My personal favourite of all Dad's images. Asaro mudmen in the ghostly regalia that assisted their escape from certain death when one of their warring parties was routed and forced to hide in a river. After dusk, the party emerged covered in silt and so terrified their enemies that they were able to effect an escape...
This popular story seems to be complete bullshit, if the more mundane account I dug up in Scholarspace is anything to go by.
In reality, the original mud-daubing is apparently related to pre-colonial girituwai disguise practice, adopted by individual Asaro men intending to conduct raids against neighbouring tribes; it behoved them to do it ninja-styles in order to avoid identification and reprisal.
In 1957, an elaborate massed version (as per this picture) was displayed at the inaugural Eastern Highlands Agricultural Show for the first time as an apparently ad hoc expression of Asaro tribal identity and cultural practice.
You learn something new every day.